Meet My Grandfather

There are a few things that bring me pure happiness, and one of them is when I can use my creative talents and artistic ability to share my love of family history. It makes me so happy. A seriously deep joy that brings me so much satisfaction. I wish I could do it all day long, every day. Continue reading


All’s right with the world.


“God’s in his heaven, All’s right with the world.” – Robert Browning

The headlines would tell us otherwise. That the world is falling apart. That there is corruption everywhere, that our nation is showing its moral decay in the choices for our two presidential candidates.  That sin is running rampant in all of its many forms. That everything is not right in the world.

But a few months ago, I ran across this simple statement by Browning, that rang so true to my heart. Because it’s truth. God is in his Heaven.  He is in charge. He knows full well what is going on in this world. He has already been telling us our story for thousands of years through the prophets and scriptures. Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekial, Jeremiah, Revelations, and through his own mouth in the New Testament and Book of Mormon.etc.  This is not something new. None of this should surprise us. In fact, it should bring great relief. We are right where he told us we would be, and so we can also know of a surety what will be coming.

It will get worse if the people do not repent and return to the Lord. He has told us what we can expect to see in the future. What we are seeing now will feel like nothing.  But he has also promised us some of the most wonderful and incredible blessings that have ever been witnessed in the existence of the earth.  They will be ours to behold if we choose to follow him. And eventually every knee will bow and tongue confess that he is the Christ. (Romans 14:11)

“He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

This is what gives me hope.  In the end everything will be made right for those who are faithful. So right now, I can choose to be faithful to him, because even in the midst of the craziness of life, he has the capacity to wipe away my tears this very moment. He has told me to be of good cheer. He can bring beauty, life and peace to my life right now.

Because God is in his heaven, All’s right in my world.


He Touched Her Hand and the Fever Left Her.


Recently I was introduced to an old book called Christ in the Fine Arts. An Anthology of Pictures, Poetry, Music, and Stories Centering in the Life of Christ.  What a feast for the soul. I have been introduced to artwork I never knew about, beautiful poetry, thoughts and music lyrics that have warmed my heart and touched my soul.

While skimming through it I fell across this beautiful poem which I fell in love with.
It describes in such a perfect way our need to have our own personal fevers healed. The malady that is currently making us spiritually sick and keeping us from fully serving him.  How often do we just sit in suffering when there is one who can heal us if we would just seek out the great Physician.

The Master’s Touch

“And he touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she arose and ministered unto them.” — Matthew 8:15

“He touched her hand, and the fever left her.”
He touched her hand as He only can,
With the wondrous skill of the great Physician,
With the tender touch of the Son of Man,
And the fever pain in the throbbing temples
Died out with the flush on brow and cheek;
And the lips that had been so parched and burning
Trembled with thanks that she could not speak;
And the eyes, where the fever light had faded,
Looked up – by her grateful tears made dim;
And she rose and ministered to her household—
She rose and ministered unto Him.

“He touched her hand, and the fever left her.”
Oh blessed touch of the Man Divine!
So beautiful then to rise and serve Him
When the fever is gone from your life and mine;
It may be the fever of restless serving,
With heart all thirsty for love and praise,
And eyes all aching and strained with yearning
Toward self-set goals in the future days;
Or it may be a fever or spirit anguish,
Some tempest of sorrow that dies not down
Till the cross at last is in meekness lifted
And the head stoops low for the thorny crown;
Or it may be a fever of pain and anger,
When the wounded spirit is hard to bear,
And only the Lord can draw forth the arrows
Left carelessly, cruelly rankling there.

Whatever the fever, His touch can heal it;
Whatever the tempest, his voice can still it;
There is only joy as we seek His pleasure;
There is only rest as we see His will—
And some day after life’s fitful fever,
I think we shall say in the home on high:
“If the hands that He touched but did His bidding
How little it matters what else went by!”
Ah, Lord! Thou knowest us altogether,
Each heart’s sore sickness, whatever it be.
Touch Thou our hands! Let the fever leave us—-
And so shall we minister unto Thee!

– Author Unknown

Beach combing


I had the chance to go on a vacation with my parents, siblings and their families for a week to the Oregon Coast. It was just what I needed.  Quality time with family, some down time, the wonderful ocean, and a chance to pull out the pencils and paint. Nothing beat the early morning walks along the beach. I could get up and exercise in the wee early hours every day if I just have an ocean to walk along.  Continue reading

Thursday Thriller

Let me introduce you to Richard Ballantyne, my 5th great grandfather.  He was a Scotsman who joined the church and came to America to join with the Saints.  Little did he know what kinds of trials and adventures awaited him.  During the time of great persecutions of the Mormons, he was kidnapped by the mob and held hostage for over two weeks. Being an avid journal writer, he left many amazing stories for his posterity to enjoy.  Here is the story of his adventure being a hostage to the mob…. Continue reading

Workday Wednesday

Elmo Astle with New Garbage Truck

This is my grandfather Elmo Carling Astle. He died when I was just a few years old and so I never really knew him growing up.  My father took over his garbage hauling business when he passed away and so I grew up riding in this same truck, and helping my dad haul garbage.  I loved these journal entries we came across though as we were scanning his journal in to digitize it.  I think my father could express similar feelings of those that his father wrote. “Same old grind of hauling trash all day in Afton and Alpine, Freedom and Thayne….” Continue reading

“I would not be true to myself or to you, if I did not add one little word on the spiritual greatness of this task of yours. You are rearing a child, who is not only yours, but also a child of God. Make it worthy of the God whose child it is and who gave it.  You are doing God’s work and taking up a God-appointed task. In His cause there is no defeat.”  Adolf Berle from the 1915 book ‘Teaching in the Home’ 

2 Nephi 10:33

I finished up this illustrated faith last week, using some of my own drawings this time. I have always read this scripture in one specific context, but this time it was a scripture that had been playing all week in my mind in light of a different context and meaning. Those thoughts were of what I was putting into my body. We are told by Paul that our body is a temple, that it is not our own and was bought with a price. Continue reading

Ether 6:12

This illustrated faith picture is one that I finished last week after reading in Ether 6.  As I was reading it brought back some thoughts that President Miller had shared with us in a sacrament meeting. The phrase driven forth before the wind had stuck out to him.  It describes the brother of Jared being continually driven before the wind towards the promised land, that they would often be buried in the depths of the sea, and that it was probably a not always a pleasant journey. Often we want life to be easy and simple, with no adversity, wind or difficulties. Yet it was the very wind that drove them to the promised land they were seeking. If they had been on calm waters they would have gotten no where.   Continue reading

Isaiah 61:3

A friend of mine shared her first art journaling in her bible and it intrigued me. She shared the site Illustrated Faith with me and encouraged me to do it. I thought about it all day. What would the scriptures look like visually to me? How could I illustrate the insights, joy, hope, and understanding the scriptures give me daily as I study them? I decided to take her up on it. I wanted to see what I could accomplish by the end of the year of illustrating the scriptures that stuck out to me the most that year, my own personal journey of discovering faith in the Lord and his gospel.  This was my first attempt.  Continue reading